Apple’s “Hermitage” Film Showcases the Power of the iPhone 11 Pro Max

Shot in one take over the course of five hours, this artistic homage to museums also spotlights advancements in tech

Using the State Hermitage Museum in Saint Petersburg, Russia as a backdrop, director Axinya Gog made a one-take film lasting five hours, 19 minutes and 28 seconds using an Apple iPhone 11 Pro Max. Masterpieces hang still, dancers use dramatic choreography to provide a sense of direction and orchestral performances arranged by Russian neoclassical composer Kirill Richter unfold in real-time throughout the museum’s 45 halls. Part artistic virtual tour, part performance piece, “Hermitage” is also evidence of the iPhone’s power. The Pro Max proves itself capable of shooting the entire film on just one charge and cinematic moments are made possible with the new Catch iOS app for Apple Watch, a tool that helps users pull focus, make adjustments and create something truly cinematic.

A camera crew chased the film’s performed moments. In one of the grand halls, for instance, a dancer struts through an open doorway at the other end of the shot. After turning a corner, the camera scans Rembrandt, turning the careful strokes of the artist into details to mull over up-close. Some 588 masterpieces by artists Tiziano Vecellio, Caravaggio, El Greco, and others make appearances, too.

“This video to me is all about connection through time—art that is timeless meets modern life and state-of-the art technology. I hope viewers will take a break from their busy lives and get carried away by this meditative beauty,” Gog explains. She’s no stranger to museum settings—Gog’s mother tenured as an art historian and curator at Moscow’s Tretyakov Gallery—and that may further explain the intimate relationship forged between the viewer and the museum through the course of the film.

“I’ve never worked with iPhone on such large-scale projects, so my team and I have studied the device meticulously and built our whole creative solution around its capabilities. I can now say this is a project that could have only been shot on iPhone,” she says of this particular shoot and its equipment.

Impressively, the iPhone’s battery dropped from fully charged to 19% over the course of the entire shoot, proving the updated battery is far more long-lasting than previous generations. Shot in 4k, the film’s raw file clocked in at over 125GB. At no moment did the technology fail, and never was a planned moment mistimed. Plus, the cast of camera talent maintained a steady pace, likely accruing a fair number of steps in the Apple Watch’s health app. Watch the full film on Apple’s YouTube page.

Images courtesy of Apple